View Full Version : Who has some- good, unusual, or just damn fat tuning ideas.

07-18-2004, 07:04 PM
Who has some- good, unusual, or just damn fat tuning ideas.


I know that tuning is an art form only understood by the "acoustic genious."
I was hoping that some of you are!
I have a couple kits. First, I have a 23 yr old pearl kit. I believe it has a 7 or 8 ply phillipine mohagony. Last year I stripped off the wrapping on the shell and put a finish. ( Its change the sound of the shell slightly, not a bad change.) I currently have clr. Remo pinstripe heads. (double ply. with the oils inside) For the most part they give a strong attack, fairly quick decay, and a warm tone.
I tune it to a somewhat lower register. I do it to where the batter heads are about 2 1/2 turns - 3 from finger tight. And the bottom about 3-4. I use the star. method, when tighting, and tone test for tensoin continunity.
On the other hand I have my dw pacific kit I wrote about b4. Im toooooooo poor to get new heads on it, so I have those crappy stock heads on.
Its the series with the wrapping on the maple shells. when I try to tune it using the same basic ideas from my pearl kit. I get these overtones that are hard to ring out. Maybe new heads would solve all my problems. Or maybe Ive got way use to the dry, full tone of mohogany, and Im just not use to the warmth of maple.
In any case, I've tried useing more of a tighter tension on the top! ( bad idea)
Ive tried to do it the same as my pearl kit. (better) but still a lot of overtones, ringing, and interference from the other drums. (vibration)
Finally, I taped, small strips of clr bubble wrap inside the batter head, and thats helped some but looks tacky.
I know the obvious must is new heads, but is there anyone that has any ideas that could help me out with it.
My pearl drums sound good, but I do like a change if there's ideas with it too. it would be great.
Further more b4 I close out my novel here. Ideas of heads and preferences there are for brands, or styles. It would be awesome.

07-20-2004, 08:50 PM

All I can say is what I've done in the past and what works for me. First of all the one thing that I have heard everyone from professionals, teachers and recording engineers say that the most important thing when it comes to heads is no matter what brand or type of head your using or how old it is is to make sure that when you first put that new head on your drums make sure that you set the head into the drum tightening it as tight as it will go and leave that way over night so that the head sets into the drum.
From there everyone has a different style, tune the lower head higher than the top head whatever. What I have learned from others and from my own experience playing live and in the studio I have gotten the best response by tuning the heads the same for top and bottom. So I guess the best way for me to explain it is to explain how I personally tune my drums. I tune the top and the bottom with basically the same tension and I go as high as I can go with even tension before the there is a cut off in the tone/sustain of the drum. You'll notice that there is also a cut off in the sustain/tone/ring if you tune the heads to low. So you wanna tune the heads (top and bottom) evenly somewhere in that range before there is a cutoff in the tone. You wanna get as fat and full of a sound as possible.
Snare is a different story. I tend to tune that pretty low for a nice fat full snare sound.
Low tom I tune in the low range before the sustain cuts off.

So in the end I guess what I'm saying in my opinion is that it really doesn't matter what kind of heads you choose to use or how old they are even. You just have to find that sweet spot. I went to the studio this past weekend and was amazed that my remo pinstripe heads that I put on my set last october still sounded great.

Hope this helps.

07-21-2004, 04:38 PM
My true knowledge of tuning only goes from what I learned here.
Other than that, its "twist key, thump thump, sounds good"

07-21-2004, 08:16 PM
Thanks for the tips, but Tre:

After I tighten all my heads really tight and leave the over night. Do I start tuning straight-away. From high to low, or do I want to losen it all the way and go up?
Im assuming its up to down like a guitar string.
But, I was hoping you could clear that up.
Also, I would always push really hard on my heads to help them give a little and get some of the streching out of the way.
But it does make a lot more sence, doing up to down.

08-23-2004, 01:03 PM
You always want to tune up to a pitch, not down to one. I think it has something to do with the screws/threads, but either way, every good source always says tune UP.

08-26-2004, 09:05 PM
i like to tune my toms at the lowest sound possible or that basic boomy fat sound we all love especially ina rock setting. my snare is tuned high enough. dave weckl's vid Back to Basic i think is good insights on tuning the drums. i only use pinstripes on my toms and the ever so sturdy Luwig rocker for my snare. i made sure no damper on my toms except on the sanre occasionally.